Paying your parking meter... with your phone? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Paying your parking meter... with your phone?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Drivers can now pay by phone to park in Charlotte.  The city rolled out the new service Thursday, and some drivers were quick to ditch the pocket change and pull out their phones.

Alejandro Torio said he pays for about six hours of parking a day in uptown Charlotte while he works on opening a new restaurant, 5 Church.  He's normally scrambling to find change.

"It's not so convenient," said Torio. "Every two hours you have to come out and feed the meter."

Today he learned there could be a better way.

Charlotte has partnered with a company called ParkMobile to offer the pay by phone service.  It's a company that's already used in dozens of other cities around the country.

Every city-owned meter or pay station will soon have a green sticker letting drivers know about the option to pay by phone.  Drivers can either call a toll free number to pay, or download the ParkMobile app on their smart phones.

Once a driver has the free app, he'll need to register his email address, license plate number, and credit card information before paying by phone.

"I definitely see myself getting the app on my phone for this," said Charlotte resident Devin Charles. "This is very convenient."

He downloaded the app right away.

Even though the app itself is free, drivers have to pay a service fee of 35 cents every time they use it to buy time in a parking space. The city of Charlotte doesn't get that money; it goes to ParkMobile.  The city still gets the usual revenue generated by parking fees.

If you choose to use the app, it will send you a text message confirming that you paid for a parking space. It will also send a text ten to fifteen minutes before your time runs out.  You can choose to add more time from your phone or get back to your car before you get a ticket.

"Everyone has a mobile phone. I think it's much more convenient. If the phones can pay for it, why not?" said Torio.

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